Electronics Handbook/Components/FET

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FET[edit]

Field Effect Transistor is another type of transistor made from silicon material . The field-effect transistor (FET) relies on an electric field to control the shape and hence the conductivity of a channel of one type of charge carrier in a semiconductor material. FETs are sometimes called unipolar transistors to contrast their single-carrier-type operation with the dual-carrier-type operation of bipolar (junction) transistors (BJT). The concept of the FET predates the BJT, though it was not physically implemented until after BJTs due to the limitations of semiconductor materials and the relative ease of manufacturing BJTs compared to FETs at the time.

FETs are majority-charge-carrier devices. The device consists of an active channel through which majority charge carriers, electrons or holes, flow from the source to the drain. Source and drain terminal conductors are connected to semiconductor through ohmic contacts. The conductivity of the channel is a function of potential applied to the gate

Types of FET[edit]

There are two types of JFET

  1. N-channel JFET
  2. P-channel JFET

Construction[edit]

Lateral mosfet.svg

For the symbols in which the bulk, or body, terminal is shown, it is here shown internally connected to the source. This is a typical configuration, but by no means the only important configuration. In general, the MOSFET is a four-terminal device, and in integrated circuits many of the MOSFETs share a body connection, not necessarily connected to the source terminals of all the transistors.

FET operation[edit]

I–V characteristics and output plot of a JFET n-channel transistor.

The FET controls the flow of electrons (or electron holes) from the source to drain by affecting the size and shape of a "conductive channel" created and influenced by voltage (or lack of voltage) applied across the gate and source terminals (For ease of discussion, this assumes body and source are connected). This conductive channel is the "stream" through which electrons flow from source to drain.

In an n-channel depletion-mode device, a negative gate-to-source voltage causes a depletion region to expand in width and encroach on the channel from the sides, narrowing the channel. If the depletion region expands to completely close the channel, the resistance of the channel from source to drain becomes large, and the FET is effectively turned off like a switch. Likewise a positive gate-to-source voltage increases the channel size and allows electrons to flow easily.

Conversely, in an n-channel enhancement-mode device, a positive gate-to-source voltage is necessary to create a conductive channel, since one does not exist naturally within the transistor. The positive voltage attracts free-floating electrons within the body towards the gate, forming a conductive channel. But first, enough electrons must be attracted near the gate to counter the dopant ions added to the body of the FET; this forms a region free of mobile carriers called a depletion region, and the phenomenon is referred to as the threshold voltage of the FET. Further gate-to-source voltage increase will attract even more electrons towards the gate which are able to create a conductive channel from source to drain; this process is called inversion.

For either enhancement- or depletion-mode devices, at drain-to-source voltages much less than gate-to-source voltages, changing the gate voltage will alter the channel resistance, and drain current will be proportional to drain voltage (referenced to source voltage). In this mode the FET operates like a variable resistor and the FET is said to be operating in a linear mode or ohmic mode.

If drain-to-source voltage is increased, this creates a significant asymmetrical change in the shape of the channel due to a gradient of voltage potential from source to drain. The shape of the inversion region becomes "pinched-off" near the drain end of the channel. If drain-to-source voltage is increased further, the pinch-off point of the channel begins to move away from the drain towards the source. The FET is said to be in saturation mode; The saturation mode, or the region between ohmic and saturation, is used when amplification is needed. The in-between region is sometimes considered to be part of the ohmic or linear region, even where drain current is not approximately linear with drain voltage.

Even though the conductive channel formed by gate-to-source voltage no longer connects source to drain during saturation mode, carriers are not blocked from flowing. Considering again an n-channel device, a depletion region exists in the p-type body, surrounding the conductive channel and drain and source regions. The electrons which comprise the channel are free to move out of the channel through the depletion region if attracted to the drain by drain-to-source voltage. The depletion region is free of carriers and has a resistance similar to silicon. Any increase of the drain-to-source voltage will increase the distance from drain to the pinch-off point, increasing resistance due to the depletion region proportionally to the applied drain-to-source voltage. This proportional change causes the drain-to-source current to remain relatively fixed independent of changes to the drain-to-source voltage and quite unlike the linear mode operation. Thus in saturation mode, the FET behaves as a constant-current source rather than as a resistor and can be used most effectively as a voltage amplifier. In this case, the gate-to-source voltage determines the level of constant current through the channel.

Types of FET[edit]

JFET P-Channel Labelled.svg IGFET P-Ch Enh Labelled.svg IGFET P-Ch Enh Labelled simplified.svg Mosfet P-Ch Sedra.svg IGFET P-Ch Dep Labelled.svg P-channel
JFET N-Channel Labelled.svg IGFET N-Ch Enh Labelled.svg IGFET N-Ch Enh Labelled simplified.svg Mosfet N-Ch Sedra.svg IGFET N-Ch Dep Labelled.svg N-channel
JFET MOSFET enh MOSFET enh (no bulk) MOSFET dep

Reference[edit]